Lumbar Traction: Definition, Uses, and Treatment

Lumbar Traction is a therapeutic technique used in physical therapy and rehabilitation to relieve pain and address musculoskeletal conditions affecting the lower back and surrounding structures. It involves applying mechanical forces to the lumbar spine to create space between vertebral segments, reduce pressure on intervertebral discs, and alleviate pain or discomfort. Lumbar Traction can be performed manually by a skilled therapist or through mechanical devices explicitly designed for this purpose. This treatment modality is utilized in many clinical scenarios to manage conditions such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, spinal stenosis, facet joint dysfunction, and other sources of lower back pain.

Mechanism of Lumbar Traction:

Lumbar traction works on the principle of decompression, aiming to reduce pressure within the spinal structures. The spine comprises vertebral bodies separated by intervertebral discs, which act as cushions and shock absorbers. When these discs become compressed due to poor posture, trauma, or degenerative changes, they can press on nerves, causing pain and other symptoms. Lumbar traction aims to alleviate this pressure by gently stretching the spine, creating a negative pressure within the disc and allowing nutrients and fluids to flow back into it, promoting healing.

Uses and Indications:

  • Herniated Disc: Lumbar traction can provide relief by reducing the pressure on the herniated disc material, potentially alleviating radiating pain and neurological symptoms.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Traction may help in degenerative changes where the discs lose their height and elasticity, leading to pain and limited mobility.
  • Sciatica: Traction can help ease the compression of the sciatic nerve, which causes pain radiating down the leg.
  • Spinal Stenosis: The spinal canal narrows in spinal stenosis, leading to nerve compression. Traction can temporarily alleviate this compression and relieve symptoms.
  • Facet Joint Dysfunction: Traction can reduce pressure on the facet joints, which are small joints that facilitate spinal movement. Dysfunction can lead to pain and restricted movement.
  • Muscle Spasms: Traction can help relax muscles around the lumbar spine, reducing muscle spasms and associated pain.
  • Chronic Lower Back Pain: For non-specific lower back pain, TractionTraction might relieve pressure on affected structures and promote muscle relaxation.

Types of Lumbar Traction:

  • Manual TractionTraction: involves a therapist applying controlled, hands-on force to the patient's spine, targeting specific segments. It requires skill and expertise to use the right amount of pressure.
  • Mechanical Traction: Mechanical devices, such as traction tables or machines, apply controlled forces to the lumbar spine. These devices provide consistent and adjustable traction forces.

Lumbar Traction Procedure:

  • Assessment: Before initiating TractionTraction, a thorough evaluation of the patient's condition is conducted, including medical history, imaging studies, and physical examination.
  • Patient Positioning: The patient is on a traction table or device, often lying on their back. Straps or harnesses are used to secure the patient while traction forces are applied.
  • Force Application: Traction force is applied gradually and carefully, manually by the therapist or through the mechanical device. The point is adjusted based on the patient's tolerance and response.
  • Duration and Frequency: Traction sessions typically last around 15 to 30 minutes. The frequency of sessions varies depending on the patient's condition and treatment plan, ranging from several times a week to a few times a day.
  • Monitoring: The patient's traction response is monitored throughout the session to ensure safety and effectiveness. Any adverse reactions are noted and addressed.

Considerations and Precautions:

While lumbar TractionTraction can be beneficial for many patients, there are specific considerations and precautions:

  • Contraindications: Traction might not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as severe osteoporosis, fractures, infections, or pregnancy. A thorough assessment is essential before starting treatment.
  • Patient Response: The effectiveness of TractionTraction varies among individuals. Some might experience immediate relief, while others require multiple sessions before noticing improvement.
  • Expertise: Manual Traction requires skilled therapists who can accurately gauge the appropriate force and technique. Mechanical devices should be used under professional guidance.
  • Combination Therapy: Traction is often part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes exercises, stretches, and other modalities to address the underlying issue.
  • Short-term Relief: While TractionTraction can provide temporary relief, it might not necessarily address the root cause of the problem. It should be combined with efforts to address biomechanical imbalances and lifestyle factors.


Lumbar Traction is a valuable therapeutic tool for managing diverse lower back conditions, striving to alleviate pressure on spinal structures through controlled mechanical forces. Its effectiveness hinges upon precise assessment, suitable patient selection, and adept application. As with any medical intervention, qualified professionals should administer lumbar TractionTraction, seamlessly integrating it into an individualized treatment plan.

For top-notch physiotherapy services in Navi Mumbai, Medicover Hospital shines as a beacon. They excel in treating a wide array of conditions, including sports injuries, muscular dystrophy, back and neck pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, respiratory issues, ankle sprain, Parkinson's disease, foot fracture, knee ligament injury, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Their expertise and comprehensive approach ensure optimal care tailored to each patient's unique needs, further solidifying Medicover Hospital's reputation in the field.

Make an appointment just in few minutes - Call Us Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lumbar traction suitable for everyone?

Lumbar traction might not be suitable for individuals with severe osteoporosis, fractures, infections, or specific medical conditions. A thorough assessment is crucial before starting treatment.

Is lumbar traction safe for disc bulges?

Lumbar traction can be safe and effective for disc bulges when administered by qualified professionals. It aims to reduce pressure on affected discs, potentially alleviating symptoms. However, individual assessment and proper technique are crucial to ensure safety and optimal outcomes.

Is lumbar traction a permanent solution?

Lumbar traction provides temporary relief by addressing symptoms and promoting healing. To address the root cause, it's essential to incorporate lifestyle changes and other therapies as recommended.

Where can I receive lumbar traction and physiotherapy services?

Medicover Hospital in Navi Mumbai offers exceptional physiotherapy services, treating a range of conditions such as sports injuries, back and neck pain, knee pain, and more. Their expertise ensures individualized care tailored to each patient's needs.

How soon can I expect results from lumbar traction?

Results vary among individuals. Some patients may experience immediate relief, while others might require several sessions before noticing improvement.